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 Health Hint #58
Crohn's Disease: Help for an Inflammatory Bowel Disorder
 
 
Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer



The lower section of your small intestine is called the ileum. It's connected to your colon. When the ileum (and sometimes the colon) becomes chronically inflamed, the condition is called Crohn's disease. Early symptoms include:
Cramps and pain on the lower right side of the abdomen, generally occurring just after eating
Diarrhea (usually without blood)
Slight fever
Nausea
Loss of appetite and weight
Inflammation of the anus
Joint pains
Fatigue

As gastrointestinal disorders go, Crohn's disease is what you might call a young person's problem, generally striking between the ages of 15 and 35.

It tends to run in families and is more common among Caucasians, especially Europeans and people of Jewish heritage. (Doctors also suspect environmental factors may be partially to blame.) The number of people who have Crohn's disease has doubled over the past 20 years, but no one knows why.

Crohn's disease is quite unpredictable: It comes and goes, triggering attacks off and on for months or years. Nevertheless, treatment is fairly successful and consists of medications--usually antidiarrheal drugs, anti-inflammatory agents and vitamin supplements, sometimes steroids, and possibly antibiotics, should infection occur. Doctors recommend bed rest, especially during severe attacks, use of a heating pad to relieve abdominal cramps, and drinking as many liquids as possible to prevent dehydration.

(About 70 percent of those with Crohn's disease undergo surgery. But it's usually not a cure: Crohn's tends to recur in another portion of the intestine.)

Certain foods like milk, eggs, or wheat may irritate the intestines, and avoiding these foods in all forms seems to help control flare-ups (although it doesn't cure the condition). Avoid drinking alcohol--it, too, irritates your system. As for other dietary measures, a diet high in vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates and low in fiber is standard treatment.

Note: Crohn's disease can mimic other intestinal diseases and can only be diagnosed by a physician. If you experience any of the symptoms described, get medical attention.

 About The Author
This article has been taken from A Year of Health Hints: 365 Practical Ways to Feel Better & Live Longer, a book published by the ...more
 
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